The Word Did Everything image

The Word Did Everything

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This is possibly my favourite Martin Luther quotation ever. Happy Reformation Day:

Take myself as an example.  I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force.  I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing.  And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philipp and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it.  I did nothing; the Word did everything.  Had I desired to foment trouble, I could have brought great bloodshed upon Germany; indeed, I could have started such a game that even the emperor would not have been safe.  But what would it have been?  Mere fool’s play.  I did nothing; I let the Word do its work.  What do you suppose is Satan’s thought when one tries to do the thing by kicking up a row?  He sits back in hell and thinks:  Oh, what a fine game the poor fools are up to now!  But when we spread the Word alone and let it alone do the work, that distresses him.  For it is almighty, and takes captive the hearts, and when the hearts are captured the work will fall of itself.

— The Second Sermon, March 10, 1522, Monday after Invocavit.  [Luther, M. (1999, c1959).  Vol. 51: Luther’s works, vol. 51: Sermons I.  (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.).  Luther’s Works (51:III-78).  Philadelphia: Fortress Press].

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